I have been lucky to have some inspirational people come into my life just at a time when I needed them most.
Their support and mentoring have helped me to become who I am today.
When I was 21 years old, I was fresh out of university, living in a big city for the first time, and had just landed my first real job. My boss, Susan, opened my eyes to a life beyond my conservative rural Australian upbringing. She was the first women I knew who had a career other than teaching. She was married but hadn’t taken her husband’s surname and they had deliberately chosen not to have children. But she was caring and passionate, she was sensible and practical. Not at all like the “career women” I previously knew through stereotypes on 80’s television shows. Susan took an interest in developing me, she taught me the fundamentals of marketing and where there were gaps found the best professional development courses for me. She even became my de-facto big sister, making sure I was safe in the big city much to my parents relief.
Later in my career I found myself in my first leadership position. Again I had a boss who was similar to my first – caring, passionate, practical – but now I needed to learn about leadership. Belinda had the amazing ability to listen to all sides with a open mind and see a pathway ahead. She showed me how to have courageous conversations with difficult people and encouraged me to solve issues myself. Her confidence in my knowledge and experience emboldened me to be confident in my own abilities, which in turn made me a better leader.
People who inspire you go beyond simply teaching or mentoring. They go beyond the day to day. They have a deep impact on your whole life, professionally and personally.
Recently I have been reflecting on how I can pass this gift on by inspiring others. How can I be inspirational for others? Following are some challenges I have set myself:
Have courage and stand up for what I believe in.
Be authentic and comfortable with who I am.
Be passionate and share that enthusiasm with others.
Care about seeing others grow and improve. Challenge them to be their best.
Lead by example. Walk the talk!
Inspirational people come into your life when you most need them. (But perhaps not always when you are looking.) And sometimes it isn’t immediately obvious that they are there to inspire you. It is only afterwards, when you have had time to reflect, that you realize how much this person has had an impact on you.
Thank you to those who have inspired me.